1964 Movies

If you're in the mood for some awesome 60s movies, Plex is your go-to resource. Forget the hassle of surfing through multiple streaming platforms; we have consolidated the best released in 1964 in one convenient location. From blockbusters to movies you might not have heard of, our database offers a wide range of choices to suit all tastes.
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The Best Movies of 1964

A Hard Day's Night

Before we get into how The Beatles changed cinema, let's look at what makes A Hard Day's Night such an essential watch. Directed by Richard Lester, the film spotlights John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, all portraying versions of themselves. The plot is loosely strung together, depicting an average day in the lives of these music icons as they roam around London.

The film's genius lies in its simplicity, illustrating a fictional day in the life of the Beatles without diving into complexities. The chemistry between the members remains on full display, and this was during a period when internal squabbles had not yet emerged to tear them apart. One of the film's major highlights is its music, and the soundtrack later became a landmark album for the Beatles, showing signs of the artistic growth that would continue throughout the 60s.


In 1964, Sean Connery returned for his third outing as James Bond in Goldfinger, a film that remains etched in the annals of the franchise. This entry pits 007 against a malevolent adversary with a master plan to loot Fort Knox.

By the time Goldfinger was made, the James Bond franchise had already seen a couple of iterations, setting a strong precedent with Dr. No in 1962 and following it up with From Russia with Love in 1963. Goldfinger built on this foundation and elevated the genre, providing the classic features that audiences associate with a James Bond film. In fact, many consider it to be among the finest in the franchise.


Kwaidan is another gem that graced theaters in 1964. Directed by Masaki Kobayashi, this anthology movie comprises four horror/fantasy segments, each centered on traditional Japanese supernatural stories. With a runtime of three hours, the film is an epic journey through eerie and unsettling folklore.

The film owes much of its impact to the keen eye of Kobayashi, as well as a gifted ensemble cast featuring Tatsuya Nakadai, Tetsurō Tamba, and Takashi Shimura. Each of the four stories is captivating in its own right, making Kwaidan arguably one of the most cohesive horror anthology films ever made.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg stands out in 1964's rich musical offerings, taking a somewhat melancholic approach to the genre. Hailing from France, the film departs from the conventional spoken dialogue format, opting instead for an entirely sung narrative. This 93-minute musical odyssey explores a poignant love story set against the backdrop of the Algerian war. The narrative focuses on a young couple separated by circumstances, capturing the ups and downs of their relationship.

Director Jacques Demy's audacious decision to present the entire film as a continuous song provides a unique texture. Furthermore, the film's visual features, such as its rich color scheme, add to its unique appeal.

Band of Outsiders

Band of Outsiders, directed by Jean-Luc Godard, is another standout of 1964. Godard, a key figure in the French New Wave, offers an engaging amalgamation of comedy, crime, and romance in this cinematic gem. The plot centers on three directionless young adults infatuated with crime films. Driven by their whims and desires, they engage in a disorderly heist.

The film captivates viewers with its quirky blend of genres and its general ambiance. The laid-back atmosphere is engaging, catering to audiences who may not otherwise be intrigued by the plot or characters. This film underscores Godard's capacity to push cinematic boundaries.


In contrast to other films from the same era, Onibaba has retained its unsettling aura. Centered on a woman and her daughter-in-law surviving in a frightening swamp setting, the movie is far from your typical horror fare. They make ends meet by slaying samurais and plundering their belongings. The plot takes a twist when both women vie for the affections of the same man.

The swamp environment is as much a character in the film as the humans. This backdrop, combined with the film's unique approach to psychological terror, ensures Onibaba is not easily forgotten. It's a testament to how well-executed horror can transcend time and technical limitations.

Dr. Strangelove

Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb masterfully intertwines grim subject matter with humor. The film delves into Cold War tensions and the terror of atomic warfare, yet is punctuated with moments of laugh-out-loud humor. Renowned for its acting and memorable dialogue, it leaves an impact on its audience. Notable are George C. Scott and Peter Sellers, the latter impressively portraying three separate roles. Kubrick's deft balance of serious and comic parts sets the film apart, making it a noteworthy creation of its time.

Fight, Zatoichi, Fight

The Zatoichi films, a collection of samurai movies, offer a mix of action and historical adventure. The series is remarkably consistent in quality, making it a must-see for fans of the genre. Fight, Zatoichi, Fight stands as a highlight among the four entries released in 1964. The narrative centers on Zatoichi, the blind swordsman, who finds himself caring for an infant after a tragic murder. His quest to reunite the baby with its father serves as the film's driving force, ensuring it remains engaging throughout.

Woman in the Dunes

Highly praised on Letterboxd, Woman in the Dunes is a unique and polarizing cinematic endeavor. Its leisurely pacing and experimental approach may not cater to all tastes, but it has received acclaim for its hypnotic atmosphere. The plot unfolds as an entomologist becomes a captive in a coastal village, where tension builds gradually over its 2.5-hour runtime. This Japanese film stands as a notable example of arthouse cinema, captivating viewers who are open to its unconventional storytelling.

A Fistful of Dollars

A Fistful of Dollars marks a significant milestone for both director Sergio Leone and actor Clint Eastwood. Adapted from Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo, the film transposes the story to an Old West setting, giving birth to the Spaghetti Western genre. While not as polished as later collaborations between Leone and Eastwood, this film laid the groundwork for their future successes. Eastwood's role in the film solidified his status in Hollywood, making this film significant not just for its quality but also for its historical import.

1964 Movies & Industry Highlights

Top-Grossing Films

Let's start by discussing the movies that took the box office by storm in North America. At the top of the list, we have "Mary Poppins," distributed by Buena Vista, generating revenue of approximately $31,000,000. Trailing closely behind was "My Fair Lady," released by Warner Bros., with a box office collection of $30,000,000. United Artists' "Goldfinger" also raked in a substantial amount, about $22,500,000, to secure the third spot.

Lesser-Known Yet Profitable Films

"From Russia With Love," another United Artists release, may not have made it to the top three, but it still managed to collect $9,200,000. "The Pink Panther" and "A Hard Day's Night" also pulled in respectable numbers, with collections of $5,935,000 and $5,800,000, respectively.

Significant Events in 1964

Beyond the silver screen, 1964 was marked by a series of events that had a substantial impact on the film industry.

  • For instance, actor Alan Ladd, aged 50, passed away under tragic circumstances. His passing was a loss to the industry, but his final film, "The Carpetbaggers," defied critics to earn $15,500,000.

  • March was a notable month with the release of Elvis Presley's 14th film, "Kissin' Cousins." Furthermore, on March 15th, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton tied the knot, adding another headline to the year's news.

  • June saw the release of "Hey There, It's Yogi Bear!" This animated feature was the first from Hanna-Barbera and set a precedent for future full-length animated films based on television shows.

  • "The Beatles" made their film debut in July with "A Hard Day's Night," which became an instant hit. Interestingly, August was the month when "Mary Poppins" hit theaters and soon became Disney's top-grossing film ever, subsequently winning five Academy Awards.

Unmade Plans and Future Outlook

In October, the media buzzed with the announcement that Sophia Loren and Paul Newman were slated to star in the film adaptation of Arthur Miller's "After the Fall." Unfortunately, this project never saw the light of day.